Le Samourai

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Product Overview

In a career-defining performance, Alain Delon plays blue-eyed Jef Costello, a fedora- and trench-coat-wearing contract killer with samurai instincts. When Jef assassinates a nightclub owner, he finds himself confronted by a series of witnesses, who drop his perfect world into the hands of a persistent police investigator and Jef's shadowy employer, both of whom are determined to put an end to the smooth criminal. A razor-sharp cocktail of 1940s American gangster cinema and 1960s French pop culture--with a liberal dose of Japanese lone-warrior mythology--maverick director Jean-Pierre Melville's masterpiece defines cool. Criterion's DVD will also include new video interviews with two Melville historians, a collection of excerpts from archival interviews with Melville, Delon, and others, the trailer, a reprinted tribute by filmmaker John Woo, and more.


Studio Image Entertainment
SKU 40723258
UPC 037429208526
UPC 14 00037429208526
Format DVD
Release Date 10/25/2005
Film Noir
New Wave (Film)
Theatrical Release
Editors Note
Note When a stoic, icily professional assassin is witnessed leaving the scene of a nightclub "hit" by a barroom pianist who doesn't let on to the cops, he discovers that he's being set up for something worse than jail. New wave noir from Melville, the tough-guy darling of the "Cahiers du Cinema" crowd. Based on the novel "The Ronin" by Joan McLeod.
Los Angeles Times "...An austere poem of crime, a fatalistic exercise in myth-making and transcendent style..." 02/27/1997 p.F8
Chicago Sun-Times "...The film is masterful in its control of acting and visual style....LE SAMOURAI is as finished and polished as a film can be..." 06/08/1997 p.5
Rolling Stone 4 stars out of 5 -- "With minimal amounts of violence but maximum style....Simply, the coolest film ever." 11/17/2005 p.144
New York Times "Melville's 1968 masterpiece....Minimal dialogue, a spare and moody jazz score and images drained of any color warmer than blue steel contribute to an overwhelming sense of repression and control." 11/08/2005 p.E5
Premiere 4 stars out of 4 -- "[I]t's a nigh perfectly constructed film, and its finale remains one of the most stunning yet enigmatic twists ever committed to celluloid." 12/01/2005 p.188
Jean-Pierre Melville
Alain Delon
Nathalie Delon
Cast & Crew
Alain Delon - Actor
Cathy Rosier - Actor
Francois de Lamothe - Production Designer
Francois de Roubaix - Original Music By
Francois Perier - Actor
Henri Decae - Cinematographer
Jean-Pierre Melville - Director
Jean-Pierre Melville, et. al. - Writer
John McLeod - Based On Novel By
Monique Bonnot, et. al. - Editor
Nathalie Delon - Actor
Raymond Borderie, et. al. - Producer
Technical Info
Original Release Date 1967
Catalog ID 150
UPC 00037429208526
Number of Discs 1
Running Time 95 minutes
Color Color
Original Language French
Available Subtitles English
Available Audio Tracks French
Aspect Ratio
Anamorphic Widescreen  1.85:1
ReviewSource James Berardinelli's ReelViews
Review ...Le Samourai is close to perfection. It combines stylish direction, an intelligent script, first-rate performances, and overpowering atmosphere into one of the most tense and absorbing thrillers ever to reach the screen. In trying to identify a film with a similar impact, I'm left grasping at thin air -- nothing quite like it exists in the annals of motion picture history, even when considering the work of Alfred Hitchcock. However, watching Le Samourai makes it obvious that directors like Quentin Tarantino and Brian DePalma are familiar with this particular entry on Jean-Pierre Melville's resume. Its influence upon their work is evident.
Reviewer James Berardinelli
ReviewRating 10
ReviewSource Chicago Sun-Times
Review The movie teaches us how action is the enemy of suspense--how action releases tension, instead of building it. Better to wait for a whole movie for something to happen (assuming we really care whether it happens) than to sit through a film where things we don't care about are happening constantly.Melville uses character, not action, to build suspense. Consider a scene where one of the underworld hirelings calls on Costello, to apologize and hire him for another job, and Jef stares at him with utterly blank, empty eyes.
Reviewer Roger Ebert
ReviewRating 9
DVD, French, English, Subtitled, Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Product Attributes
Actor Melville,Jean-Pierr
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD

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